Running… How hard can it be?

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So I finally decided that enough was enough and I really ought to be doing something to get myself feeling a bit fitter.

I feel like such a cliche, ooo look at me approaching a scary landmark birthday, let’s panic and freak out about our health. Is this what a midlife crisis looks like? Shouldn’t I be buying a sports car or something fun instead? Or is that just for the boys?

So anyway, after downloading the app on my phone about a year ago,  I have begun the couch to 5K challenge this week.

I completed week one today walking for 5 mins then alternating running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds for a total of half an hour including a 5 min warm down at the end.  Sounds easy right?

Unfortunately it occurs to me now, that I haven’t actually increased my pace above a sort of business-like stride for about 26 years!

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When I was about 14, a friend and I found a cunning way to skive P.E. lessons by not turning up for the very first lesson when they would create the register, and then hanging out in the Art Department instead when everyone else went to P.E. My art teacher Mr Gill didn’t mind a bit and thought we were very sensible and my mum didn’t seem to notice that she never had to wash my P.E. kit again. Cunning huh? How we laughed, ha ha, I thought I was so clever… until now… now I really sort of wish that I had been a bit more enthusiastic about sports and keeping fit when I was younger and I might have avoided some of the issues I have now !

But maybe it is not too late? Maybe I can still reverse some of the damage done from 26 years of sitting on my butt doing nothing more strenuous than a yoga class?

However there is one tinsy tiny little snag.

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I absolutely hate running, I hate it with a fierce passion, I hate the wibbly jelly legs you get whilst also feeling like your legs are filled with cement, I hate the thundering of my heart when it feels like it is about to burst out of my chest, I hate the simple inability I have to run anywhere for more than 60 seconds and I hate the impact of your feet hitting the hard ground and jangling your whole body, or if you go off-road the lumps and bumps in the ground just waiting to grab your ankle and twist it.  I don’t know what to do with my arms? I keep swallowing flies as my mouth hangs open gasping for breath! I hate the hills! I hate the sweating, I feel terribly embarrassed every time I pass someone I know and desperately hope they don’t stop me for a chat as A) I can’t really stop once I have started or that is IT. And B) I really can’t actually talk… at all…

So why am I running then?

Well, that’s a good question. I have slowly been trying to improve my fitness since I finished my course in April. I have been walking the 2 mile round trip to the school every day which is a good start.

I tried some exercise videos, but couldn’t stick at it as got bored. And I hate the idea and expense of the gym and I hate swimming and getting wet even more than i hate running and I can’t cycle sadly due to pesky nerve pain.

Plus the idea of running actually appeals to me, the “theory” side of it as it were. I like the idea that it is free and simple and you can do it anywhere, just pop on some running shoes and off you go. I like the idea of the freedom and headspace it gives you, the sense of achievement when you stop, the energy it gives you and the smugness – don’t forget the smugness!

I even saw a fox when out running this week!

And I like the structure of couch to 5K. The gentle start and the promise of great things at the end of the 9 weeks. I like the idea of seeing my progress from gibbering flappy thing to sleek energetic runner!

Although, the idea that I will ever be running solidly for 30 mins is quite frankly absolutely preposterous and ridiculous and unbelievable – but yet…

but yet… maybe. If I stick at it, then just maybe?

And that little thought is quite exciting.

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I would like very much to be able to keep up with the children, to play rounders and badminton with them and run around and be silly without mummy needing a little sit down after 5 mins!

Also I have issues with my body, especially my back and nerve pain around my pelvis and legs. And I have used this as a brilliant excuse to not exercise for years. But the pain is not getting any better for it. It has been getting a bit worse. So there is a little part of me that wonders and hopes that maybe just maybe if I can get fit, then maybe some of that pain will ease up a little bit? After all, the sedentary plan seems to have failed terribly.

But my problem is that I am finding couch to 5K way harder than I expected. It’s from couch right? So presuming little to no previous fitness at all. Surely people much less fit than me take this up and succeed, so there is no excuse really is there? But I did expect it to feel a little bit easier in week one that it does. After all you are only actually running for 8 minutes, that’s nothing right?

I’m just not sure I can envisage a day when I go running because I really want to, because I like it, and I can do it, rather than prizing myself out of the house with a crowbar!

Anyway – perhaps the more people I tell that I am doing it, the more embarrassed I will be when I quit, so it might just keep me going that bit longer.

Maybe I stick on week one for another week or two, until I feel it getting a bit easier?

Should I stick to the roads and save my ankles or should I persevere with off-road when it is not too muddy – it is certainly a nicer experience to look up and see fields and trees rather than looking over my shoulder to make sure I am not about to be mown down by a car.

Any wise words of wisdom or hope from my fellow runners (that’s a couple of words I never thought I would use next to each other!) very much welcome, please comment below.

How hard can it be? Extremely!!!!

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